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ODE XI.

TO MERCURY.

O MERCURY, inspire my lay,

(Rocks learnt Amphion to obey

When taught by thee,)-teach me to play

On seven-string'd harp :

Harsh as thou wert, O harp! of yore,

Thrice welcome now at every door;

Make Lyde feel thy magic power

Now soft, now sharp :

She, like a filly, loves to frisk,

And dreads t' approach for fear of risk;

Unripe, she yet for husband brisk

Feels no desire.

Thee woods and tigers flock around,

Whilst streams no more run o'er the ground;

Grim Cerberus, at thy sweet sound,

Relaxes ire;

Whose head a hundred snakes infest,

Thus, fury-like, he rears his crest!

Whilst poisonous breath steams from his chest

And three-tongued mouth.

Quin et Ixion, Tityusque vultu
Risit invito: stetit urna paulum

Sicca, dum grato Danai puellas

Carmine mulces.

Audiat Lyde scelus atque notas
Virginum pœnas, et inane lymphæ
Dolium fundo pereuntis imo,

Seraque fata,

Quæ manent culpas etiam sub Orco: Impiæ, (nam quid potuere majus ?) Impiæ sponsos potuere duro

Perdere ferro.

Una de multis, face nuptiali

Digna, perjurum fuit in parentem

Splendidè mendax, et in omne virgo
Nobilis ævum :

Surge, quæ dixit juveni marito,

Surge; ne longus tibi somnus, unde

Non times, detur: socerum et scelestas

Falle sorores;

Quæ velut nactæ vitulos leænæ,

Singulos (eheu!) lacerant: ego illis

Mollior, nec te feriam, neque intra

Claustra tenebo.

Me pater sævis oneret catenis,

Quòd viro clemens misero peperci :

Ixion, Tityus-in turn

Unwilling at thy music, burn;
Dry stands the Argive sisters' urn,

Who mourn their youth.

Let Lyde learn their cruel hate,-
Then learn their no less cruel fate,

Which teaches all, that-soon or late

Sentence most dire

Hard as to fill a leaky cask—
Awaits the guilty :-bloody task!
To slay beneath the impious mask

Of wedlock's fire!

One virgin, worth a wedded state,
Deceiving her false parent's hate,
Apart from all, stands nobly great

In every age:

'Tis she who to her husband said, "Arise, and leave the nuptial-bed,

Where, unsuspecting, nought you dread!

O! cheat the rage

"Of savage sisters who would tear,

Like beasts, their victims, in their lair :

But O! I could not hurt a hair,

Nor keep you here.

"Let cruel sire oppress with chains Because I spared a husband pains;

Me vel extremos Numidarum in agros Classe releget.

I, pedes quò te rapiunt et auræ,
Dum favet Nox et Venus: i secundo
Omine; et nostri memorem sepulcro

Sculpe querelam.

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Or hurry me to Afric's plains,—

What need I fear!

Fly! fly-where happy fortune tends, Whilst Night and Venus stand your friends; But grave her tomb, with grief who bends, And drop the tear!"

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